If you’ve ever considered piano lessons for yourself or your kids, but thought lessons would be too expensive or too time-consuming, you need to check out the Music & Creativity – Foundation Course from Simply Music. This online piano course is a fun way to learn to play piano. The best part? It’s entirely free.
It’s no secret that music lessons are expensive. While many of us value our own music experience or want our kids to have a musical background, the cost may make us think twice about enrolling our kids in lessons. Especially if we’re not even sure that child is going to actually participate and learn from those lessons (looking at you, Jade).
The Music & Creativity – Foundation Course from Simply Music is an online piano course that you can do from home. It gives you the chance to start your child on piano lessons, without a huge time or money commitment. You can see if your child enjoys doing lessons and is interested in learning more. If they ace the course, great—find them a teacher! If they whine and complain and don’t want to do it, then maybe you need to try something else.
What is Simply Music?
Neil Moore is an Australian music teacher and the founder of Simply Music. He’s spent the last 25 years developing a unique teaching methodology. Now, he has a multi-national community of educators in 12 countries who teach the Simply Music method exclusively. Millions of Simply Music lessons have been taught to students and Simply Music has emerged as the world leader in the field of playing-based education.
The Simply Music Method draws on and nurtures the natural sense of music we all possess; it teaches students to play the piano by immersing them in the actual process of playing. ~ Neil Moore
What makes Simply Music different? Students learn to play piano by playing piano, rather than learning to read music. Just as young children learn to talk without knowing how to read words, so Neil believes that anyone can learn to play piano (or make music!) without learning to read music.
We just “upgraded” from a very small keyboard to a real (apartment-sized) piano. With both the keyboard and the piano, I’ve noticed that kids gravitate towards the keys. There’s something attractive about a piano that invites anyone to sit down and plunk away at it. In fact, Lily (who is currently taking piano lessons) has gotten frustrated that everyone wants to play “her” piano. Nobody picks up Sunshine’s violin and attempts to play it!
This engaging nature of pianos is what Simply Music uses to teach. Children (and adults!) want to be able to make music, and it is easy to make music on a piano. Anyone can plunk at the keys with a rhythm and put together a small song. Simply Music simply helps develop that interest, just as parents encourage infants to keep trying to say new words.
Currently, my oldest two daughters are taking music lessons and we are looking at starting Jade as well. Sunshine (age 11) takes violin, Lily (age 9) takes piano, and Jade (age 6) is figuring out her instrument. Simply Music has helped all of them with their music…
Supplement Another Instrument
Sunshine has been doing violin lessons for five years now. She has a good ear for music and enjoys playing and singing. While her primary instrument is violin, she also enjoys plunking at the piano and trying to learn recorder and harmonica (as much as Mommy’s nerves will allow).
A friend of mine who is a professional violinist mentioned that, at the upper levels of violin, it’s also good to have some piano knowledge. Putting Sunshine in both piano and violin lessons doesn’t work for us at the moment. However, I can let her explore the piano with Simply Music.
Keep Learning over the Summer
Lily has been doing piano lessons for two years. Her piano teacher is currently away for the summer, but I don’t want Lily to forget what she’s been working on. Simply Music has been a great way for her to continue her piano learning on a summer schedule. She can play as much or as little as she wants without worrying about how to fit piano lessons into our summer plans.
Even if you’re away over the summer, you can take Simply Music with you because it’s an online program. For example, when we visit Grandma, Lily can keep working on her piano courses on Grandma’s piano. Of course, it’s a bit harder to take a piano with you than a violin, but often relatives or friends have pianos and would be happy to hear your child play.
Try Piano Lessons (risk-free!)
Jade has grown up listening to her big sisters play music. Last year, she expressed interest in learning violin and so we found a smaller size violin for her. She tried a few music lessons with Sunshine’s teacher, but five or ten minutes into the lesson, she’d declare that she was tired or her arm hurt or it was too hard.
Thankfully, our teacher was very flexible and either didn’t charge me for the lessons or let Sunshine have a longer lesson. However, it was still frustrating to get her ready for a lesson and then have her not do it when we got there.
Simply Music allows your child to explore the piano without the pressure. There is no time constraint, no payments, nobody else waiting to have their lesson. You can help your child work through the course as quickly or as slowly as they need to. Maybe one child only wants to play for five minutes a day, and another child wants to play for half an hour. That’s great! An online music program works for both.
Research has shown that learning, playing and listening to music engages more diverse functions of the brain – perceptual, emotional, auditory, memory – than just about any other activity. Music is one of the best things you can do for yourself, mentally and emotionally. ~ Gordon Harvey, Music and the Art of Long-term Relationships
Want to see how other homeschoolers have used the the Music & Creativity – Foundation Course from Simply Music? Check out the CREW reviews for more ideas!
The Music & Creativity – Foundation Course includes nineteen online lessons, three ebooks, and soundtracks. The ebooks are all PDF files that can be downloaded once you’ve logged in.
Foundation Course – Reference Book includes words to all the songs children are learning (if they like to sing along, as my girls do). There’s also musical notes and diagrams for kids, to accompany the lessons.
Foundation Course – Practice Pad is a printable keyboard for kids. If your child enjoys making crafts, they’ll have fun with this project. This also lets them “practice” piano even if they can’t actually play. You can also write on the keys to help kids learn or let them decorate their paper piano.
Music and the Art of Long-term Relationships: The Key to Staying Committed (an Educational Supplement) by Neil Moore is an 84-page ebook for parents or adults. The fourteen chapters of this book cover topics such as “Sticking with Music Lessons,” “Distinguishing the Method from the Relationship,” “Why Music,” and more. (It’s an easy read, so if you have a teen learning music, you could have an interesting discussion with them about the book.)
In the introduction, Neil says, “My intention is to influence and expand your understanding and perceptions of music education, specifically, what it means to have a ‘relationship’ with music lessons. Regardless of whether it is you or your child who is learning music, my intention is to equip you with certain insights that will assist in discovering what it takes to stay committed over time.”
As a mom who did music lessons myself for several years (piano and violin) and is now encouraging my own kids to do music lessons, I found this ebook to be a fascinating read. Neil has some unique ideas about teaching and learning music, our assumptions about that, and why kids may not “stick to” their music lessons. I’d recommend signing up for the Music & Creativity – Foundation Course just to access this ebook and think about your own ideas around music lessons and your children.
Pros and Cons of Online Piano Lessons
As an online music program, there are some pros and cons to using Simply Music.
Pros of using Simply Music:
- free (no financial investment required!)
- flexible (learn at your own pace and on your own time, so lessons can be easier to fit around other activities)
- portable (take it with you on vacation or learning-on-the go!)
Cons of using Simply Music:
- no feedback about playing / learning
- lack of connection with an instructor
- less accountability to practice regularly
To find out more about the Music & Creativity – Foundation Course from Simply Music, drop by the website. Explore the website and sign up for the course for free! You can also find Simply Music on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.
Have your children done piano lessons, online or in person? What has helped them learn?